What is endometriosis?

The fight against endometriosis is a cause close to our hearts. Over the past 3 years, progress has been made, but no cure has yet been found and clinical research into the disease is rare. Marion's visceral desire to fight endometriosis in order to accelerate awareness of the disease, and therefore its treatment, is part of the genesis and DNA of the Elia brand.

That's why we support associations fighting endometriosis, and particularly the Fondation de Recherche et de lutte contre l'Endométriose. Because there are no small contributions, only big commitments, we donate part of our profits and everyone on the team is committed to this fight!

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic gynecological disease that affects an average of 1 in 10 women, or around 176 million people worldwide. This inflammatory condition is caused by the presence of endometrial-like tissue outside the uterus in regulated women. There is evenadenomyosis, a form of the disease where the endometrium infiltrates the myometrium, creating intense pain.

The location and depth of endometriosis lesions vary from one woman to another. Feelings, pain and impact on quality of life also vary from one person to another. Symptoms are therefore varied and difficult to grasp, not only for medical staff but also for patients suffering from painful periods or chronic pain outside the menstrual cycle.

The impact of endometriosis can be gynaecological pain, infertility... Nowadays, it is unfortunately common for a diagnosis to be made late: up to ten years can elapse between the discovery of the first symptoms and confirmation of the disease.

The chronicity of endometriosis and menstrual cycles contribute to the growth of endometriosis lesions each month. It's a vicious circle that feeds itself more or less rapidly, depending on the woman. The growth of these endometriosis cells over time leads to the appearance of larger and larger lesions, which then cling to and migrate towards the fallopian tubes, vagina, ovaries, colon, ureters and diaphragm. In some cases, endometriosis can even become lodged in the sacral or sciatic nerves.


A personal story

A long-lasting, silent inflammatory disease that shows signs of life for a while, but never really reveals itself...

Then one day, sometimes after months, sometimes years, of pelvic pain, heavy periods, urinary discomfort, disrupted sexual relations, aborted pregnancy plans, we finally manage to find a cause, to put a name to what we have:endometriosis. It's a long road, with long delays in diagnosis and interminable waits for painful tests.

This is the story of Marion, the founder of Elia, but it could also be yours, that of your daughter, your mother, or a loved one.


The fight against endometriosis, a cause close to our hearts

Women suffering from endometriosis can go through a number of stages (hysteroscopy, laparoscopy, removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes, artificial menopause, continuous pill...). Yet no cure has yet been found, and clinical research into the disease is scarce.

Marion's visceral desire to fight against endometriosis, to raise awareness of the disease and therefore its treatment, is part of the genesis and DNA of the Elia brand.

That's why we support associations fighting endometriosis. 10% of Elia's profits are donated to research projects and to support women facing this disease. In this way, each and every one of your purchases contributes to raising public awareness of endometriosis. Because there are no small contributions, only big commitments.

What are the main symptoms of endometriosis?

The symptoms and pain of endometriosis vary from woman to woman:

- Very painful periods, pain that prevents you from getting on with your day. Endometriosis is a disease that is totally linked to hormonal activity, and therefore to menstrual cycles. The pain is therefore accentuated when you have your period and your body produces inflammation! Around 70% of women with endometriosis experience disabling pain in their daily lives. Even outside their periods.

- Heavy periods, exceeding 80 ml of lost fluid - you can do the Higham test

- Pain during and after intercourse! It's not normal to feel pain during intercourse. Endometriosis is a condition in which the cells are lodged all over the body, and in this particular case, they will move into the vagina or create cysts around the uterus, making certain sexual positions complicated. The vast majority of women who suffer pain during intercourse experience pain in the depths of the body, as well as reflex contractions of the perineum and vagina during penetration.

- Pain during defecation or urination! When endometriosis adhesions settle in the digestive tract, some women experience digestive problems and regularly experience diarrhoea or constipation.

- Lower back or lumbar pain

- Chronic, long-lasting fatigue that doesn't go away after resting or taking magnesium or iron supplements.

- Difficulty having a natural pregnancy with endometriosis, usually after at least 12 months of trying for a baby. It is estimated that 30-50% of women with endometriosis suffer from infertility. This is due to ovulation disorders, endometriosis lesions on the reproductive system, reduced ovarian reserve, difficulties in achieving embryonic implantation, and fallopian tube obstruction.

Is endometriosis benign?

Endometriosis lesions can behave like real tumors, but rest assured, they are benign. The lesions infiltrate and deform the organs, disrupting their normal functioning, which makes the disease very complicated to manage for endometriosis sufferers.

What causes endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a highly complex disease. It's a Trojan horse that fascinates many researchers and doctors. Various studies explain and agree that endometriosis appears 50% for genetic reasons and 50% for environmental reasons.

Certain body mechanisms also play a role in the development of the disease. These mechanisms include

- Retrograde menstruation. These are women who do not eliminate their periods properly. Menstrual blood ends up implanting itself in the uterine cavity and organs, creating endometriosis lesions.

- Heredity - The French National Authority for Health (HAS) and the French National College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians (CNGOF) explain that the risk of developing endometriosis in first-degree relatives is 5 times higher than in the general population.

- The transformation of peritoneal cells into endometriosis. These are the membranes that support the organs of the abdomen.

- The passage of uterine endometrial cells into the bloodstream at the time of menstruation causes the endometrium to migrate to other organs. This is also why endometriosis is sometimes associated with cancers or tumors. The mode of migration is much the same

- Endocrine disruptors are no strangers to the disease. The WHO defines endocrine disruptors as substances or mixtures that alter the functions of the endocrine system. This system is itself a set of tissues and interactions that communicate with the rest of the organism. Certain persistent organic pollutants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls, organochlorine pesticides and dioxins, have an impact on the endometrium.

How is endometriosis treated?

To date, there is no cure for endometriosis, which is an incurable disease. It is very difficult to diagnose, and takes many different forms. However, various treatments are available to reduce cell proliferation and limit the impact on daily life, sometimes with varying degrees of success:

1- Prevent menstruation with hormone therapy! By taking the pill, the body is deprived of estrogen. This prevents the woman from menstruating. In fact, endometriosis lesions on the organs will bleed at the same time as menstruation, creating microhemorrhages and resulting in adhesions and cysts.

2- Artificial menopause, which suppresses ovulation and menstruation for a certain period of time.

3- Surgical treatment is a complex and abrasive procedure. Endometriosis surgery must be performed by experts in the field.


Is this your story too?

Does this disease affect you in any way? You can be sure of our full support in your fight against the disease. Don't hesitate to contact us and tell us about your experience.

Speaking out

How is endometriosis diagnosed?

As explained above, endometriosis has as many facets as there are menstruating women. Some symptoms of endometriosis may be striking for you and should prompt you to consult a specialist doctor, gynaecologist or midwife.

There are several techniques for diagnosing endometriosis. Not all of them are 100% reliable.

1-Pelvic ultrasound allows you to visualize the internal organs, in particular the cervix. This involves performing an endo-vaginal ultrasound by inserting a probe into the vagina. This examination is very useful for detecting the presence of ovarian cysts.
2-MRI provides 2 or 3D views. It provides a view of soft tissues such as internal organs. MRI can be used to detect endometriosis cysts, lesions or nodules. MRI complements and confirms an ultrasound report.
3-Hysterography or hysterosalpingography is an examination of the uterus and fallopian tubes to look for uterine malformations or adhesions in the fallopian tubes. It is particularly useful when complementary fertility examinations are required.
4 -Endorectal ultrasound is an ultrasound performed using a probe inserted into the rectum to detect deep-seated lesions that could affect the rectum.
5 - Virtual colonoscopy, uroscanner or air colonoscanner enables detailed exploration of the entire rectum, colon and ureters. It is indicated in the search for very deep endometriosis!
6- Laparoscopy, also known as laparoscopy, is a surgical procedure involving the introduction of a small camera via the navel and various instruments. Laparoscopy enables a complete endometriosis assessment to be carried out, as the surgeon is able to gain an overall view of all lesions. Laparoscopy is generally indicated when surgery is required, and is no longer really used as a diagnostic tool, as it is considered too abrasive.